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Family Life

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Family Life

Published 1949

Impossible drama proving that proper management of schedules, responsibilities, privileges and finances leads to a happier home.

Run time 9:46
Producer Coronet Instructional Films
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Illustrates that proper management of schedules, responsibilities, privileges and finances leads to a happier home.
Ken Smith notes: The Miller family is in a rut. Mom decides to take the initiative and "work out a system for living together in harmony." From now on, the family will be managed "like a business," with weekly family council meetings where everyone's responsibilities will be clearly outlined. This approach strikes the other family members as a terrific idea ("Say, mom -- you're swell!") and everybody ends up happy. Classic mid-century thinking. Son "Harold" has the best lines.



Reviewer: JSBejma - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 17, 2016
Subject: Laughable But Good!
Almost certainly the quintessential film of mid 20th century mental health film era. Upbeat, no real problems, a dorky son with a big ass, and a mother whose hair looks like it got caught in the wringer. The kids are typical of 1950 - thoughtless and self-centered, but rebuttals from parents for such behaviour would wait a few years to happen. Suddenly, like a stroke of lightning hit them, the kids become ass-licking Disney characters just because mom wrote a list and called a meeting. Not a scream or accusation in the whole meeting? That's a fantasy. Surely there must have been pot-laced brownies for dessert. I can't imagine a discussion of that sort going so peacefully.

But this short movie concisely and clearly makes its point. No time is wasted here. Not exactly my favorite, but it's a classic example of its genre.
Reviewer: JayKay49 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 21, 2011
Subject: That Was The Trip They Saved Up For?
Judging from the sun angles between the opening scene and the end I suppose the big trip that the boy was so adament to not scrap turned out to be a two hour trip to Cystal Lake which I presume was over in back of that house you see beyond the garage. How exciting!

Does anybody else think that the female narrator at the beginning of this film is the same voice as the female dog Buck brought home in that episode of Married With Childrem?
Reviewer: jenniferger - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 30, 2011
Subject: Some truly nice ideas, but...
...what they fail to take into account, as with many Coronet films, is human nature. It's sound advice to make budgets and plan things, but human beings are not automatons, and while this plan is a good, democratic idea, much depends on the personalities of the people in the house.

I sometimes watch these films and realize that I have NO clue what a real family in the 40s and 50s was actually like, because all of these films portray an ideal outcome and helpful, cooperative behavior from the whole family, and I know it can't possibly have been like that.

the film also features the trademark Coronet list making solution to the problem at hand, which always makes me chuckle a bit. Everything gets solved with a list at Coronet.
Reviewer: 37view37 - favoritefavoritefavorite - November 23, 2009
Subject: Come on, people.
OK little film – a couple of overly cynical reviews. The concepts herein are not dissimilar to contemporary family issues. Scheduling: my family has grown by three children due to meth-addicted relatives (can’t get more contemporary than that) who neglected said children. Social workers and counselors all advised that these children desperately needed dependably-scheduled routines from morning to night. That advice bore fruit once we heeded it. Responsibilities: same as above. Little kids ought to learn responsibility – and it’s often never too late to learn such regardless of the age. This film had everyday examples of how this plays out (do some of you reviewers even HAVE your own families or is it only a concept to you…sheesh). Privileges: is it not axiomatic that privileges are earned? The solipsistic nature of some of the reviewers of many Prelinger films is exposed here on the Archive quite often whenever concepts of self-regulation or self-sacrifice are broached. Things are not just handed to us simply because we desire them. Again, do some of you even work for a living, or is that also simply a passé bourgeois concept in your thinking? Finances: if you don’t believe this is an integral part of family life you are frankly beyond hope. Read some Thomas Sowell for a change. Years ago my wife and I had to work out, wait for it…A FAMILY BUDGET. Ooooh, yes. That scary word that dare not be spoken without gales of laughter from those who are either of the manor born or too narcissistic to consider the future of their families. Oddly enough, we actually began to knock off our debts one at a time with the money we were saving from budgeting. We had read of Crown Ministry’s (Crown. Coronet. Wait a minute…nah.) idea of paying down debt one debtor at a time and rolling the payments into the next highest debt. Now we have no credit cards and no credit card debts. A very popular family financial planner, Dave Ramsey (see economics blogger Megan McArdle of The Atlantic who also recommends his approach), recommends the same idea, along with rigorous budgeting. He has multitudes of people getting their family finances in order. But, of course, our friendly reviewers here know better than the rest of us, don’t they: you should never expect such a crazy idea to actually WORK…except in Coronet films…which are so campy that the ideas therein just HAVE to be wrong…right? A couple of other things – my lower-middle class parents, in the 1960’s, were paying CASH for doctor visits AND tonsillectomies…without insurance. Hello, reviewers, times have actually changed in this area. Once Medicare reared its cost-increasing head towards the nation’s health system for a couple of decades only the very rich (read, US Senators or trust-fund inheritors {often the categories merge}) could afford to pay cash for such things. Also, I can recall as late as 1967 my Southern California mother still buying and using dress patterns to cut and sew dresses for my older sister. Believe it or not this helped SAVE MONEY for families even at such a late date. Now that we have tremendous economies of scale (yes, letting capitalism actually work unencumbered by the government) no one needs to cut and sew their own clothing except as a hobby. In fact, it would be adding cost to a garment if you did it yourself. In sum, most of the reviewers here are barely aware of how utterly cynical they come across to people who utilize long-standing, and quite successful, philosophies to bring some order and success to their lives. Though this film is dated stylistically and technically, the ideas it expounds are actually helpful to many families…like mine.
Reviewer: Retro Geek - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 17, 2008
Subject: Gee Mom You're Swell!
Mrs. Miller comes up with a list for good home management. The teenagers most enthusiastically approve and even go so far as to suggest that they'd like to have family meetings every week! It's difficult to imagine today's teenagers willing to sit down together for dinner much less a family meeting. The concept is good but in true Coronet fashion, the presentation is corny with lines like - What's the answer? Is it money or is it magic? Nevertheless, it is quite entertaining to watch. Check out the strange wall decorations for extra amusement!
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 24, 2006
Subject: Family Therapy Through List-Making
Dorky, earnest Coronet film that tries to show how family problems can be solved with better organization. The Miller family fights over lots of little things until Mom, you guessed it, makes a list of ways the family could be better organized and presents it at a family council meeting. This immediately solves all their problems. Of course, the two teenaged kids are way more cooperative and enthusiastic about this plan than any real teenagers, and they live in a nice world where postponing buying a new mixer, a dress for the teenaged girl, and new seat covers for the car frees up enough money to pay for major medical expenses. This is a quintessential Cornet film, unrealistic, yet so innocently earnest you almost get swept up in it and want to start making lists yourself.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.
Reviewer: Marysz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 6, 2005
Subject: CEO Mom
Mrs. Miller, leading a life of household drudgery thatÂs left her with terrible hair, talks her family into running the house like a business. She has two spoiled teenage children and a husband who earns just enough money to get by. The Millers decide to run their family by using a list: Schedule, Responsibilities, Privileges and Finances. Miraculously, teens Katherine and Harold stop whining and shape up. Luckily for Mrs. Miller, Mr. Miller is a decent guy with no interest in being the family patriarch and is happy to make joint decisions with his wife and kids. The new, improved Miller family is the envy of their neighbors. As they leave the house for a picnic at Crystal Lake, Mrs. Miller carries herself with new authority. She wears a smart tailored jacket as she directs the family into the car and her hair is now under control. But she still has to live with Mr. MillerÂs meager salary. Mrs. Miller had an operation and the family canÂt afford to pay the medical bills without some real scrimping. Applying capitalist principles to family life has a downside. The Miller family business is a fragile one that go under any time.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - May 5, 2003
Subject: A Mixer is sacrificed...
Mrs Miller, who has the most STRANGEST hair, is having family problems! Awewww.. She gathers up the family to discuss these problems, and of course, since this is a Coronet social guidance film (in the atypical Coronet house (see Dating: Do's And Don'ts, Are You Popular etc) she develops a chart about how to run the family like a business. Scary. Using headers like 'priveledges' and 'finances' the family think this is all WONDERFUL, and agree to it wholeheartedly. 2 weeks later, we join the family again, and the meeting is totally unbelievable, with the oh-how-can-we-survive sacrifices they have to make in order to survive (they decide to sew up the seat covers and not buy a new mixer). Pretty wild.
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